In the first part of this series on domestic abuse, we talked about what it was, what all it entailed. In part two we talked about the people affected by domestic abuse. And in the third part we covered the different types of domestic abuse. (All the blogs are listed on the blog page under Domestic Violence.) Of course, there is much more information on all those subjects. This series is to give you just a general overview. The fourth part of this series is on the abuser. What makes him tick. Why does he abuse? Will he change?
How can two boys who grew up in an abusive household turn out so differently… one will be an abuser and one isn’t? Why does a man who lived in chaos his entire life, grew up in a home that may not have been abusive, but was out of control, unorganized and unregimented become a general in the Marines…one of the most structured and regimented organizations in the world? How about the minister who was raised in an atheist household…why does he become a Christian minister of the gospel? It’s all about choices.
We all make choices in our lives. We chose to take a certain path, eat particular foods, marry a special person and drive a certain type of vehicle. We live in a free country. We enjoy many freedoms. And one of those freedoms is the freedom of choice.
A child who is abused may decide that he will never be an abuser when he grows up. A child raised in the same household may remember how helpless he felt as a child in an abusive home and go overboard when he has his own family and try to maintain total control in an abusive way…continuing the abuse into another generation. A child who was bullied in the school yard may go on to be a social worker, helping others who may be experiencing the same thing he did. A classmate who was also bullied may end up in jail for beating up someone who looked at him wrong.
The difference is choice. Abusers abuse because they want power and control. They choose to abuse because it is a choice they made, not because they abuse drugs or alcohol, were raised in an abusive household or were beat up when they were a kid.
Every other reason you will hear is an excuse…not a reason. We all make our own choices. We may have been taught better…some abusers were raised in wonderful, loving homes. It may be “learned” behavior…some abusers follow in the footsteps of THEIR abusers. It may even be culturally accepted to be abusive to your wife in some parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean a man in that culture will abuse. He may choose to not abuse. It all comes down to choice.
Will an abuser ever change their abusive ways? Not likely. It’s working for him, why should he? Statistics claim only one percent (1%) of abusers change. In my years of working with victims, I’ve only ever seen two abusers stop abusing, completely change their behavior and really work at developing a healthy relationship with their spouse. It breaks my heart to see the victims holding on to the hope that their abuser will stop abusing. The chances of that are slim.
That’s all I’m going to say about the abuser because I want my blogs to focus on getting victims to a safe, happy and healthy place, not only physically but mentally and emotionally too. But this series wouldn’t be complete without addressing the abuser.
Now we’ll move on to how a victim deals with abuse…that will be part five in this series.